The saints of Russalka work their blessings in mysterious ways, allowing the royal family to perform miracles for their people. But the young princess Katza fears her powers. She’s seen grave visions of her bloodied hands destroying her family’s empire. When her older brother succumbs to illness, leaving her next in line for the throne, Katza turns to a young rebellious prophet named Ravin who promises to teach her how to control her gift. As unrest grows in Russalka and a foreign monarchy threatens, Ravin understands Katza's fears and helps her find confidence in her gift, and her own heart. Under Ravin’s unorthodox training, Katza learns to hear the saints once more—until revolutionaries claim her father’s life.
speck of pale flesh against the black velvet of his coat and trousers. Her
thoughts soared at the sight of him. She needed his counsel to make sense of
her latest vision. She needed his guidance. She needed—him.
uncomfortable with the sudden yearning that pricked at her skin.
physicker. “Please, allow us to speak privately.”
the corner of the bedchamber. Nadika nodded, and the physicker gathered his bag
Nadika posted herself in the doorway as he sat in the physicker’s chair at
Katza’s side. Dark crescents lurked under his eyes, and his skin looked more
pallid than usual. Katza felt a sudden urge to brush those crescents with her
thumbs, as if they were smudges she could wipe away.
worried for you. I prayed for you all evening.”
kneeling in the chapel . . . imagined her name on his lips. “I—I’m fine now.
But I had a vision.” She pitched her voice low. “A new one. There was gunfire,
or cannons perhaps, in the distance. And I was bleeding.” She gripped her
stomach instinctively. “I think in the vision I’d been shot.”
his fingers to his mouth. “It was similar to other visions of yours, was it
speak, so she nodded instead. She still wasn’t prepared to tell him about her
recurring vision—the one she’d first feared this might be, too. He’d hinted
before that he knew of it already, but how was that possible? Had the saints
warned him as well? Better to keep it to herself until she could be sure.
down. “I believe that Boj is warning you—warning that great strife is coming to
Russalka. That if you are not prepared to confront it, you will not survive.”
than the vision she’d been plagued with before. If she couldn’t find a way to
stop the strife, though, would Russalka still perish? Whether it was at her
hands or not, it had to be stopped.
by a fraction. Katza’s gaze traced the delicate swoop from his cheek toward his
mouth and lips, the hollows beneath his cheekbones. “You have been chosen by
Boj to do great things. Greater even than most Silovs are capable of.” He
looked right at her, something gleaming in his eyes. Something like awe. “But
your training has been stunted.”
despair. “It’s my fault. My visions—I thought they were warning me not to step
above my place.”
yet they continued? Tsarechka . . . I think perhaps
they were warning you of the cost of inaction.”
again, Ravin was watching her, his face warm despite that leeching cold in his
eyes. She wanted to believe him. Desperately. She couldn’t put into words,
though, the vision’s warning—the certainty she’d felt of its message. That she
was doomed to be Russalka’s death.
with Ravin’s aid, she could avoid its grim outcome.
right training, you can save Russalka.”
line of his arms. His hands, so like a sculptor’s, dexterous and slim. This
close to him, she smelled incense on his clothes, spiced like cinnamon and
cloves. She wanted to wrap herself in that scent. Throat tight, she reached out
for his hand. At first he tensed, but then his shoulders softened, and a smile
teased his mouth. Their fingers knitted together, and she let the weight of her
hand sink into his.
novels Sekret, Dreamstrider, and A Darkly
Beating Heart, and is the showrunner and lead writer for Serial Box’s The
Witch Who Came In From the Cold. Her work has appeared on Tor.com and in
the anthologies A Tyranny of Petticoats, Strange Romance Vol. 3, and Toil
& Trouble, and she has written for Green Ronin Publishing’s RPG
properties. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband and dog.
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